Monday, July 31, 2017

Weekly Goals 31-7-17

This isn't strictly a weekly goals post because I'm not actually setting myself any real goals this week.  I know I'm not going to get any writing done, so aiming to do some is fruitless.

Instead, I'm just going to enjoy the film festival while it's on.

I've seen two more films, both of which I liked for different reasons.

Patti Cake$ is a film about a poor Jersey girl who dreams of being a rapper.  It's not a wholly original premise, but there are some lovely, original touches.  The lead, Patti, is a large girl and looks like the most unlikely rapper.  The rest of her posse are also an unusual group of characters.  Her home life is pretty dire, and it's easy to understand why she might be happy to escape into her dreams.

Menashe is set in the Hassidic Jewish community and tells the story of a widower trying to look after his son, something he is not allowed to do within his religion's traditions.  It was fascinating to get to see this community because it's something we don't get access to usually.  It was also a little sad because despite wanting desperately to parent his son, Menashe was almost as much of a kid as the little boy.

And that's it for now.  I'll be back with a couple more little reviews later in the week.

Do let me know what you're plans and goals are this week, okay?

Friday, July 28, 2017

Celebrate the Small Things 28/7/17

This post is part of Lexa Cain's bloghop, Celebrate the Small Things. Head on over there to join up!

So what am I celebrating this week?

Film Festival!

Yes, it's that time of year again.  Two weeks to indulge my passion for film and he opportunity to see things that would never grace the screens of my local multiplex.  The festival started yesterday, and I've already seen two films, both of which I really enjoyed.  I think to keep a record, I will do micro-reviews of them here.  Just to remember…

So, the first one I saw was a French film from Agnes Vargas, the now-90-year-old French New Wave director.  It's called Visages Villages (Faces Places) and follows Vargas and photographer JR as they roam the French countryside taking photographs of people in villages and making them into art installations on empty walls. It was very sweet, and the growing friendship between JR and Vargas was touching.

The second was a film called The Party from director Sally Potter.  I have a love-hate relationship with Sally Potter's films, so I was wary going in.  But I thoroughly enjoyed this black and white exploration of a supposedly celebratory dinner party at which all the guests had extra baggage to bring.  Fabulous cast too - Timothy Spall, Kristen Scott-Thomas, Patricia Clarkson, Emily Mortimer, Bruno Ganz and Cillian Murphy.

And there are many more to come….  So there will not be much writing in my next couple of weeks, but I never feel bad about it because seeing all these wonderful films always charges me up creatively.

What are you celebrating this week?

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Books I've Loved: Ramona Blue

I really enjoyed this one.  There has been a lot of controversy about it, I believe, because Ramona identifies as a lesbian then falls in love with a guy.  In real life, sexuality is a fluid thing.  At seventeen or eighteen, I wasn't 100% certain of my sexuality, so I see no reason why characters in books can't be experimenting and uncertain too.  People change, and what may seem black and white one day, may not be quite so crystal clear a fews weeks, days or years in the future. 

But anyway, enough about that.  Because in reality, Ramona's sexuality and love life is only a small part of the book.  Essentially it's a book about sisters.  Despite being younger, Ramona feels responsible for her sister, Hattie who is pregnant and has decided to keep the baby.  The family lives in a tiny, rotting trailer, all they could afford after Hurricane Katrina tore their small town apart.  There is no room for a baby, let alone Hattie's baby-daddy who moves in.

Ramona works several jobs to keep things afloat.  Their father works all the time and is barely present.  Their mother left years ago and isn't much good at mothering.  So if anyone is going to take care of Hattie, it has to be Ramona.  At least, that's what she thinks.

Throughout the course of the book, a lot of people try to tell Ramon she's wrong, there are other options open to her.  But Ramona doesn't hear them.  She's convinced her future is to stay in Eulogy and take care of Hattie and the baby.  God knows Tyler, the baby's daddy isn't up for the task.

Over the course of a year, all the things Ramona though she was sure of change, and watching her grow to realize her future isn't as grim as she might once have thought, is a real joy.  Ramona is an engaging character, as flawed and real as anyone you might meet.  And around her, the friends and family she lives with are also real individuals.  

I was sad to turn the last page and forced to leave this little community behind.  

But don't just listen to me.  Here's the blurb: 

Ramona was only five years old when Hurricane Katrina changed her life forever.

Since then, it’s been Ramona and her family against the world. Standing over six feet tall with unmistakable blue hair, Ramona is sure of three things: she likes girls, she’s fiercely devoted to her family, and she knows she’s destined for something bigger than the trailer she calls home in Eulogy, Mississippi. But juggling multiple jobs, her flaky mom, and her well-meaning but ineffectual dad forces her to be the adult of the family. Now, with her sister, Hattie, pregnant, responsibility weighs more heavily than ever.

The return of her childhood friend Freddie brings a welcome distraction. Ramona’s friendship with the former competitive swimmer picks up exactly where it left off, and soon he’s talked her into joining him for laps at the pool. But as Ramona falls in love with swimming, her feelings for Freddie begin to shift too, which is the last thing she expected. With her growing affection for Freddie making her question her sexual identity, Ramona begins to wonder if perhaps she likes girls and guys or if this new attraction is just a fluke. Either way, Ramona will discover that, for her, life and love are more fluid than they seem.

Monday, July 24, 2017

Binding Curse - Out now!

Binding Curse
by T.F. Walsh
He's the key to stopping the murders, but only if she can save him.
A terrifying darkness has risen and is sweeping Kutia Hollow, leaving dead bodies in its wake. Luna Vale, a fae militia lieutenant in post-apocalyptic Moscow, discovers evidence that a criminal holds the answer to stopping the murders. Except those in charge at the precinct are corrupt. She's determined to protect everyone from extinction and breaks Axel out of prison.
Devastated to be on the run from her former friends and colleagues, she must now work together with Axel before the killers close in on them. But time is running out, and falling for Axel only heightens the dangers. To survive, Luna must find strength in her arcane powers and confront the cursed creatures whose malevolence knows no bounds. Failure isn't an option. Not when it means losing her family, her job, and her life.
Fans of Ilona Andrews and Kelly Meding will devour this thrilling, fast-paced, conflict-ridden urban fantasy from T.F. Walsh.
Available on Amazon!
Excerpt #1
I bolted for my life, handcuffed to a guy built like a mountain. Sure, he might be eye candy, but he’d throw me over a cliff if he got the chance. I mean, everyone in Kutia Hollow had secrets but most of them didn’t get people killed. I suspected Mountain Man’s could. Maybe cuffing myself to him wasn’t such a great idea.
Heaviness sank within me. Why were the attackers at the campsite so determined to murder the man next to me? Especially since it was considered a double homicide.
The last time my deception radar went off with such ferocity, I found a fae chained in a basement in the town of Podolsk. Turned out, a gang was selling fae blood to the highest bidders. Ingesting it in high doses worked as a drug—uppers that made the users float through euphoria, confidence, and energy. But after a binge, the hangover struck, and dependency owned them. Another reason faes kept within the confines of the Moscow wall.
Up ahead, the city shone. I hit the dusty ground with each step, but behind us the drumming footfalls grew closer.
I tried to pick up speed, but Mountain Man lagged.
When a siren wailed through the night, I focused on the blue and red light throbbing in the distance. The cavalry! About freaking time. Two patrol cars steered toward us through the dark flatlands. A sense of satisfaction brought a glimmer of optimism to me as I pictured them catching the attacking faes.
The guy on my cuffs pulled against his restraints.
Excerpt #2
I stood at the front of Peace Protection Division headquarters. A red building, flanked by jagged towers and white cornices, it reminded me of a crown dripping with blood. I turned to Axel, still handcuffed to me. His hooded gaze darkened. Whenever the police chief discovered we had a wanted criminal at the precinct, he would insist on injecting a detector into his neck. That would alert us the moment he left the city. He’d be forced to spend years within the walls, checking in with a PPD officer several times a week. Except, I’d promised Axel his freedom for information, and that meant he wouldn’t get tagged. Problem was my boss changed regulations as often as it snowed during summer in Moscow. Never!
“Axel, let’s make this quick. Answer all our questions, and don’t play hard to get.”
He cocked an eyebrow and half smirked. His gaze dipped to the name badge on my chest. “Listen, Luna Vale. I’ve already played your game, and you’ve given me nothing back. I don’t trust you or the PPD to keep your word.”
“I’ll convince my boss to overlook your records,” I continued, certain that if I explained we had a clue as to who was killing everyone, he’d have to pay attention.
Axel said nothing more, his stoic expression locked in place. Spotlights cast shadows beneath his eyes. If we were standing outside a local club instead of PPD headquarters, I’d consider letting him buy me a drink. His stubbled, square jawline added to the allure, along with his strong cheekbones. Axel’s rugged appearance spiked my pulse. Coupled with his dark hair blowing in the breeze, I could stare for hours. And for those few seconds, I lost myself.
“Don’t do me any favors.” Loathing coated his words, slicing through my fantasy and reminding me what had happened the last time I went there. The shit with my ex still tightened my gut. No one ought to walk in on their partner fucking his work colleague. We’d been together a full year. Prick. Whatever. My focus was now on protecting the community and stopping the killings.
“Well, either cooperate, or you’ll end up with a tracking device. Your choice.”

Author Bio:
USA Today Bestselling Author, T.F. Walsh emigrated from Romania to Australia at the age of eight and now lives in a regional city south of Sydney with her husband. Growing up hearing dark fairytales, she's always had a passion for reading and writing horror, paranormal romance, urban fantasy and young adult stories. She balances all the dark with light fluffy stuff like baking and traveling.
She writes Paranormal Romance and Urban Fantasy.
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